The Photography Department offers a full-time, three-year study programme.

Each year, you will work with different lecturers, who will help you progress and give you feedback on your work.

As a student in the Department, you are highly motivated to take responsibility for yourself, and for each other. You are naturally inclined to initiate your own projects - both autonomously and collaboratively - and to pursue your individual interests. The department encourages you to claim your space and pursue the freedom found here. 

The teachers are committed to helping students achieve that autonomy. As artists and experienced teachers, they understand students' quest for independence and their pursuit of a critical voice within the discipline. 

We consider photography as our point of departure, our framework, and our core interest.  

However, at an academy like the Rietveld, with so many other disciplines being taught, and so many workshops available, it is natural to seek out collaborations and cross-disciplinary exchange. These can lead to unexpected and innovative results that advance you as an artist and photography itself.

During the three years of your study, you will go through several phases. You will be presented with a range of challenges, and you will each develop individually, together, towards your final exam. 

Every year, various guest lecturers visit us, we go on studio visits, organise exhibitions inside and outside the academy, collaborate with external partners and go on various excursions. 

Year 1 

In your first year you will be engaging with a series of short-term assignments. This will help you and your class to establish your working process and develop different strategies of making. During studio practice, you will learn about the formal aspects of Photography and its different processes and materials. Theory class will provide you with all essential writings on Photography and Art, and offer reading, research, discussion and writing assignments. In class, aesthetics and theory, formalism, and conceptual thinking, will come together and form the basis of our discussions. You will have 4 classes per week, all of which will be group classes. 

Year 2 

In your second year you will be expected to have found your autonomy, your agency, and your individual relationship with Photography as a medium. It is now time to engage with long-term projects that include theory and practice, concept and making. The point is to dig deeper, more profoundly and professionally. If there are any doubts, this is the right time to confront them! NNew technologies, visual communication, artistic research, and your relationship with the outside world will be brought up. You will have 3 classes per week, some of which will be group classes, some will be individual talks with your teachers. 

Year 3 

In the first half of the third year, you will write your thesis and produce works that will provide an outlook on your graduation project. Upon successful completion of both, you will qualify to enter the second half of the third year. Here you will work exclusively on your graduation project. Now everything comes together; your skills, your autonomy, your position as an artist, the questions you raise, and the visual language you have created to communicate your thoughts and ideas about your chosen topics. During this year, you will have one thesis tutor and two regular teachers, who will work with you in both group and individual classes.